Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Businesses have been warned to keep an eye out for counterfeit money after someone used a fake $50 bill at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan earlier this month.

According to HATS director Susan Leslie, the ersatz banknote wasn’t discovered until later on when a volunteer took the day’s cash to the bank for deposit. A quick swipe with a special pen proved the bill to be counterfeit. On further investigation, it incorporated a piece of a real $5 bill and had only one serial number when it should have had two, things that wouldn’t be caught unless the cashier took a close look.

Leslie said that she knows of another downtown business that was tricked with a counterfeit $100 recently. HATS is looking into acquiring a pen they can use at their own cash register to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

In the meantime, this incident hasn’t spoiled Leslie’s faith in humanity.

“There are good people in this town, too,” she said. “Even though we got stuck with this.”

To prove her point, the store was visited last week by one gentleman, who, despite spending just three dollars himself, handed over a $20 bill to help offset the loss from the fake $50 bill.

Although counterfeit cash doesn’t cross their counters every day, it’s not unusual for HATS volunteers to encounter shoplifters, and Leslie hopes the people who do that realize who they are victimizing.

“My husband put up a sign in front of the store,” she recalled. “It said ‘When you steal from us, you’re stealing from yourself,’ because the money we are raising goes to buy equipment for the hospital.”

cowichan valleyRCMP

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